my vegan lover is a paradox

That the sunny days do stick to walls
And then enter you
“There Is No Name Yet,” Dorothea Lasky

Because life is no more important than eating
“Why Poetry Can Be Hard for Most People,” Dorothea Lasky

If only one’s eyes weren’t visible to others, she thinks. If only one could hide one’s eyes from the world.
The Vegetarian, Han Kang

my vegan lover
takes me in her mouth
because she says
i am a willing participant

“this is for me”
she explains afterward
pressing her glistening lips to mine
pinning me down as if forever

taking me because she longs to eat me
consume me entirely
drawing me fully
into every opening of her possible

and then the merger complete
we are indistinguishable
one from the other
taken and given with eyes wide open

—P.L. Thomas

we rape the bees (because we can)

“I was carried to Ohio in a swarm of bees”
“Bloodbuzz Ohio,” The National

“O brave new world,/ That has such people in’t!”
Miranda, The Tempest, William Shakespeare

we rape the bees
since seized honey tastes sweet

because we can

brute force for unjust desserts
tiny humming workers enslaved

because we can

golden lips and sticky fingers
trump the frailty of small things

because we can

we rape the bees
since seized honey tastes sweet

because we can

—P.L. Thomas

will you

will you
will you hold me
will you hold me down
will you hold me down against the rising
will you hold me down against the rising anxiety
will you hold me down against the rising anxiety turning me
will you hold me down against the rising anxiety turning me inside
will you hold me down against the rising anxiety turning me inside out
will you hold me down against the rising anxiety turning me inside
will you hold me down against the rising anxiety turning me
will you hold me down against the rising anxiety
will you hold me down against the rising
will you hold me down
will you hold me
will you

—P.L. Thomas

56: scarred, broken, & the new normal (it’s metaphorical)

who writes about turning 56?
it’s no 13, 18, 21, 30, or 50

just a turn to the downslope of your 50s
a concession to 60 on the horizon

If the Lord’s willing
and the creek don’t rise

you never see it coming they say
but it comes leaving you battered in the road

like Myrtle in Fitzgerald’s American Tragedy
bleeding and left for dead as if you hadn’t been there at all

it’s metaphorical you say from the other side of the road
and i hear that ringing in my ears like a gunned engine

i wake now in the middle of the night
my left little finger completely numb

i flex that hand and massage the scars
one red and straight as if cut with a scalpel

the other two elongated Cs connecting joints
making me feel everything differently now

as i press the left hand flat on the sheets
rubbing across the material i touch the new normal

this arbitrary measure of 56 years comes
a couple days past a month since the accident

xmas eve spent in the ER to hear the word fracture
and witness other people’s faces looking at me

having possibly been clipped by Death
but skirted it for scarred and broken instead

slammed into another life against my will
where things have been stolen from me

even words mean something entirely different now
fracture insurance accident metaphor and tomorrow

but what has changed the most is me
it could have been worse my new refrain

who writes about turning 56?
especially walking around in my white man’s privilege

while the World momentbymoment plows over the Meek
to refute they could ever inherit all this manna

it’s metaphorical you say from the other side of the road
cars surging in both directions between us divided

scarred broken leaning on this goddam cane
i know i will never see it coming

but i listen with the intensity of a child
who just learned to look both ways before crossing the road

broken (little private terrors)

i lie inside
supine
pining
sunshine flooding through the blinds

wind gusts shaking the trees and house
insistent as loneliness
pounding its fists
against these fixtures

supine
pining
i lie
inside
sunshine flooding through the blinds

little private terrors
and the death of who i was
this is what i hear and see
in the wind gusts and blinding light

because a week before
i lay in the road
broken and bloodied
trying to stand as this whole new me

and then each morning after
i wake against pain and stiffness
and do not know yet this resurrection
cannot imagine this new life

a mangled little finger
a fractured hip
and all this talk of healing
as if healing is some kind of regaining

supine
pining
i lie
inside
sunshine flooding through the blinds

terrified of everything and everyone
because i alone know all
my sins of love
that temper my bones under my frail flesh

i cannot tell anyone everything
i cannot tell everyone anything that matters
because nothing is sacred or permanent
except knowing you warm and close

despite my premature decrepitude
spawned gradually and then all at once
you are unwavering in these storms
resuscitating me broken

supine
pining
i lie
inside
sunshine flooding through the blinds

—P.L. Thomas